Sam got home from school last Thursday. I picked him up from South Station. Max arrived this past Saturday evening on a bus from New York. Mark and I were at a party for our favorite nonagenarian, so we couldn’t get him. A friend of his ferried him to the house. And on Monday, after she’d finished her exams, handed in her last essay, and tidied her room, Lily got an extra special lift home from Max and Sam, who had driven out to Western Mass to bring her home from college. The three of them took a detour on their way back to collect a gorgeous ceramic bowl they’d ordered.
Each is growing — up and out and away. At the same time, they are choosing to continue to be a part of each others’ lives. Perhaps it’s true that we middle class mothers at the beginning of the new millennium have fetishized child rearing to the point that we’ve created an even bigger chasm between rich and poor. At the moment, I’m glad I’ve been able to give these three a sense that making family takes conscious effort. Because now, in this first stretch of time away from home, they understand that it takes effort to continue their relationships with one another and with Mark and me.
And guess what? They gave me that beautiful bowl for Chanukah. I am filling it with new memories, the fruits of my labor.